The idea of using block-chain technology for medical records has been discussed for many years. With the advent of more advanced encryption, it is believed that this concept will eventually be realized. A lot of people think block-chain technology is just vaporware. Still, this technology could make a difference in the lives of patients who cannot protect their medical records from unwanted alterations. It is not like the concept of block-chain technology has not been around for a while. It has been used in various industries ranging from finance to music licensing. But now, it has its eyes on healthcare as well. There is a lot of interest in block-chain technology right now, with businesses of all sizes and industries exploring ways to leverage block-chain technology for their business success. One of the exciting developing trends is how this technology can benefit the healthcare industry by facilitating secure and efficient transactions between patients and providers or other healthcare-related entities such as hospitals or medical laboratories.
Block-chain is an evolving technology that offers a decentralized, distributed database where data is stored and managed. The Block-chain system is the most secure data storage and transfer form, which can validate transactions quickly and efficiently. The data contained in those records are stored in blocks linked to each other, creating a chain. This means that if one block is changed, the changes are immediately visible to others on the network and can be used to verify that all copies are accurate.
Using a block-chain, you can verify that the information in your record was entered by you, not someone who has stolen your ID or password. Block-chain technology allows for the verification of all transactions that take place on the network. This means that when a doctor writes a prescription or any other type of transaction involving information about a patient, it can be verified by anyone who has access to the network. The practice protects against fraud and incorrect information being entered into the system by either party involved. Block-chain technology allows medical records to be stored on multiple computers in different locations. This makes it very difficult for hackers to retrieve information because they need to hack each computer separately and link them together.
With the traditional database system, this would be impossible because the hacker would have access to all your computer files at once. Block-chain technology allows for the secure storage of data in many different forms. For example, doctors could store their personal information securely using block-chain technology on their computers instead of storing it in their office’s server or other centralized location where it could be hacked or lost by accident or theft.
Block-chain technology allows users to change their records without going through a third party, like an insurance company or hospital. For example, if someone needs glasses but does not have insurance coverage yet—but needs them immediately—they could go into their medical records on their smartphone and purchase directly from there. Block-chain technology also makes it easier for you or your doctor to share information about your health condition with others who need it but do not have access to your medical record (Vora et al., 2018). For instance, if you are traveling abroad and want someone else in the U.S. to get medical treatment for you so that their insurance company does not get billed for something unnecessary.
In the above case, block-chain could help them verify that the person receiving care is truly authorized under their insurance plan before sharing anything else with them—including their contact info. Because block-chain technology uses cryptography and peer-to-peer networking to ensure its integrity, it requires less storage space and bandwidth than traditional databases. This means that block-chain can be used for storing larger amounts of data without taking up more space or requiring more processing power than necessary.
Since block-chains are public ledgers that everyone can access, there is no need for intermediaries like banks or governments when transferring money between accounts. Block-chain technology has many potential applications in healthcare, including patient tracking systems, medical record storage and retrieval, and even medical research projects. It could even help prevent identity fraud by storing information about patients’ genetic make-up or medical conditions on their own devices rather than in a centralized database that could be accessed by hackers who might want access to this information (such as insurers).
By storing data on their own devices instead of relying on others’ servers, patients can share their information securely with doctors without worrying about having their personal information stolen or being hacked. Block-chain technology uses a distributed network to store and transfer data, meaning there is no central server where all of your data is located (Usman & Qamar, 2020). Instead, it is stored on each computer in the network and linked together through cryptography. Because there is no central server, it means that if anyone gets access to your records, they will not be able to see everything in them. This makes them more secure than other storage systems like hard drives or cloud storage services, which can be hacked into easily by hackers who get access to them through data breaches.
Block chain technology uses what is called “hashing” instead of passwords. Banks and other financial institutions use hashing algorithms because they are extremely difficult to crack, even with specialized software or hardware attacks. Hashing is a process where data is converted into an encrypted code that looks like gibberish. This code is then used to verify the identity or ownership of the data (Dagher et al., 2018). The advantage of using hashing instead of passwords is that there is no chance that someone could hack into your system and retrieve your EMRs.
It also makes it harder for someone who does not have access to your EMRs to access them without your permission. Hashing is also a way of creating an encrypted string or fingerprint that can only be decrypted using the same algorithm as the original hash (Wu et al., 2022). For example, if you wanted to create a hash of a password, you would use some random text as input into an algorithm (SHA256). The algorithm would then return an encrypted string or fingerprint called a hash. If someone tried to decrypt that string with another algorithm, they would still get the same hash back but now with their password as input—meaning whoever tried to decrypt it would not have access to either password.
Another exciting thing about this block-chain technology is that it allows EMRs to be automated. Imagine going to the doctor, getting a prescription, and then going straight to the pharmacy, where the medicine is already ready for you to pick up (Wu et al., 2022). This would be possible if smart contracts, based on block-chain technology, were built into EMRs. Smart contracts can be set up to do almost any actions you can think of. In the above situation, a contract is made when the doctor enters a prescription into the system. This would send a request right away to the pharmacy, which would then be able to get the order ready. A system like this would allow patients to get their next prescriptions without returning to the doctor. Most of the time, patients have to make these trips because their doctors cannot give them large doses of drugs that could cause an overdose. the use of an automated EMRs could help get rid of this problem.
Block-chain’s chain structure can help to keep track of the ever-growing number of medical records by keeping a linked list of medical records that grows all the time. Each block has a timestamp and a link to the block before it (Wu et al., 2022). Alternatively, you could use a block-chain that links to data, not on the block-chain. The metadata for these links may contain the information needed to support interoperability. This method could store heavy data like X-rays and other imaging test results off-chain.
Another way block-chain can help protect electronic medical records is through its ability to create an open-source ledger system. An open-source ledger system means that anyone in the world can use it, and it can be shared with other parties without worrying about who will access your data. It also means that if someone does try to tamper with your data, they will have a hard time doing so because there are so many eyes on the system (Vora et al., 2018). If someone tries to change anything—like changing a patient’s name or billing details—the changes will not hold because they will be rejected by everyone who has access to the information. This means anyone can view the data stored on block-chains and verify whether something has been changed or added since it was created.
Therefore, it is possible for anyone with access to this technology to verify whether or not changes have been made without needing special privileges or credentials from any individual organization or group within the network (Anderson, 2018). By using block-chain technology to create an open-source ledger system, doctors and patients can access electronic medical records more easily. The ability to view the complete history of a patient’s medical history in one place will allow them to make more informed decisions about their care and treatment options. This could also help prevent fraud, as it would be easier for insurance companies and other third parties to verify transactions without having access to personal medical information that could be used against them if they were hacked or compromised.
While the concept of block-chain technology is still in its infancy, it may serve as a way to protect medical records securely. The block-chain is an innovative technology that can revolutionize various aspects of society, including health care, by ensuring data authenticity, privacy, and security. This technology can be used to keep electronic health records (EHRs) distributed or decentralized rather than centralized storage, which might lead to suppression or manipulation.
Anderson, J. (2018). Securing, standardizing, and simplifying electronic health record audit logs through permissioned block-chain technology.
Dagher, G. G., Mohler, J., Milojkovic, M., & Marella, P. B. (2018). Ancile: Privacy-preserving framework for access control and interoperability of electronic health records using block-chain technology. Sustainable cities and society, 39, 283-297.
Usman, M., & Qamar, U. (2020). Secure electronic medical records storage and sharing using block-chain technology. Procedia Computer Science, 174, 321-327.
Vora, J., Nayyar, A., Tanwar, S., Tyagi, S., Kumar, N., Obaidat, M. S., & Rodrigues, J. J. (2018, December). BHEEM: A block-chain-based framework for securing electronic health records. In 2018 IEEE Globecom Workshops (GC Wkshps) (pp. 1-6). IEEE.
Wu, Z., Xuan, S., Xie, J., Lin, C., & Lu, C. (2022). How to ensure the confidentiality of electronic medical records on the cloud: A technical perspective. Computers in Biology and Medicine, 147, 105726.